The acquisition of companies like WhatsApp and Instagram by Facebook was again the target of investigation. The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intends to ascertain whether the transactions violated antitrust rules.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC wants to know if Facebook bought other companies just to neutralize potential competitors. A survey by S&P Global points out that Mark Zuckerberg’s company bought 90 companies in its 15 years of existence.
WhatsApp and Instagram are the best known, but other acquisitions would have occurred precisely to maintain the strategy of preventing competition. This is the case with Onavo, a free VPN that promised to warn users about malicious websites and protect their information.
Onavo was fundamental for the company to decide to buy WhatsApp, for example. It also contributed to the investment in Instagram Stories increase, since Snapchat was not growing so much anymore.
Last week, in releasing the balance sheet for the second quarter, Facebook confirmed the FTC investigation. The company did not give many details and was limited to informing that the action involved “social networking services or social media, digital advertising and / or mobile or online applications”.
Remember that Facebook recently agreed to pay the FTC a $ 5 billion fine for the Cambridge Analytica case. The company guaranteed that the decision will cause “a stronger move towards privacy, on a scale different from anything we’ve done in the past”.
Now, the new FTC investigation could lead to more drastic measures. Among the possible actions are the restriction of Facebook’s interference on some of its properties and the determination for Facebook to be divided.